So what has happened to this time-honored value? Where did it go? Why is it that so few people can be counted on for the long haul? Of course, the excuses for breaking commitments are many:
- I'm bored
- This isn't fun any more
- It didn't work out the way I thought it would
Or we default to what is considered the fool-proof excuse for Christians, "The Lord is leading me in a different direction."
Of course, that can happen. After sixteen years pastoring in Manhattan, Kansas, God led Sheri and I to SW Florida (talk about a different direction!) The church in Kansas accepted our move as the leading of the Lord. After all, we were there a long time. I'm not so sure how they would have felt about it had I resigned within the first six months. The way some people move in and out of commitments, you would almost think God is schizophrenic. One day He says do this; the next He says do that.
I think the problem is that we have somehow lost the biblical concept of commitment. Of putting your hand to the plow and not looking back. Of enduring to the end. Of finishing the course. Of sticking with the job until it's complete.
Speaking of sticking with the job, that's exactly what John Mark didn't do in Acts 13. He was given the opportunity of a lifetime when Paul extended the invitation to join his missions team. John Mark said, "Count me in!" So off they went on the first recorded missionary journey. But no sooner did they start than John Mark called it quits (Acts 13:13). Maybe you've done that, too. Left when you should have stayed.
It was the apostle Peter who came alongside John Mark. Peter knew something about broken commitments and how to recover. It's believed Peter helped John Mark so that later on Paul was able to say of him, "he is profitable to me for the ministry" (2 Timothy 4:11).
John Mark went on to make good, and so can we. May God baptize us with a good dose of STICK-ABILITY! That special something that keeps us from quitting when we're discouraged, and enables us to faithfully stay at it. Remember: quitters never win, and winners never quit. So don't grow weary in welldoing. Keep your commitments. God promises a great reward to those who don't quit! (Galatians 6:9)
Pastor Todd Weston